Ben Folds dropped the MIC, so to speak, at a rally held inside RCA Studio A this morning — the historic Music Row studio he’s rented and operated for 12 years that is being sold to Brentwood condo developer Tim Reynolds and his Bravo Development LLC in a deal reportedly expected to close today.
At the event (where, astoundingly, a few hundred musicians and industry types showed up awake and alert at 9 a.m. on a motherfucking Monday!), Folds and friends announced the foundation of the Music Industry Coalition (or MIC) — a leaderless, non-profit neighborhood association dedicated to “the preservation and development of the Nashville Music Row community." Check ‘em out on Facebook.
“Thanks for being a part of staving off the demolition of this place,” Folds told a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of supporters — including the likes of Deana Carter and Bonnie Bramlett — standing in the same space (comparable to “a beautiful Stradivarius violin,” as Folds described it) where giants like Dolly Parton and Jimmy Dean and more contemporary favorites like Kacey Musgraves cut recordings. Folds encouraged the group to shift the #SaveStudioA hashtag to #SaveMusicRow. “When you guys need me to get the word out … we’ve got some momentum now,” Folds proclaimed.
Fans of proggy, psychedelic sounds may recall that two summers ago, local psych rockers Linear Downfall teamed up with The Flaming Lips to cover King Crimson and help the Lips set a world record (before the thought of breaking a world record had even crossed Jack White's mind ... maybe). LD also appeared on Wayne Coyne & Co.'s In the Court of the Crimson King tribute record. So what I'm saying is, The Flaming Lips love Linear Downfall, and the love affair continues.
Earlier this month, news dropped that Coyne, fellow Lip Steven Drozd and Linear D are teaming up in an outfit they're calling Electric Würms to release an EP called Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk. The record is scheduled for release Aug. 18 via Warner Bros., and its title translates to "Music That's Hard to Twerk To." Among the six songs on the EP — and you can peep the track list or pre-order the EP now via iTunes — is a cover of the Yes song "Heart of the Sunrise," though the Würms' version is significantly shorter than the 10-minute-plus original. Stream "Heart of the Sunrise" via the YouTube embed above.
According to The Future Heart — the blog that seems to have the lock on all Würms-related scoops — the band will play their first live dates later this summer at the End of the Road Fest and London's Village Underground. If you're interested in Electric Würms sneak peeks and snippets, keep an eye on Lindear Downfall's Instagram account — they've been posting rehearsal clips and so forth.
Despite the fact that Reynolds says his company won't demolish the building, Folds is still concerned about the fate of many of the historic spaces in Nashville. "Music City — from our elected leaders, business and community leaders, and those from all facets of our industry — should work more closely together to protect Music Row from destruction," he said over the weekend in yet another open letter posted to Facebook. "If we do not succeed in preserving the very foundation that has allowed Nashville to be the ONLY city in the U.S. built on music, how long before people stop coming here to live in Music City’s high rise condos? Condos in Music City make sense, but music won’t survive in Condo City."
"We need to gather so that we ensure the dialogue can turn into real action," he continues. "Action that helps to preserve what makes Nashville so attractive to creatives and investors alike." And so Folds is hosting a "Save Music Row" rally tomorrow, June 30, at 9 a.m. at his studio at 30 Music Square West. See the full text of Folds' latest open letter after the jump.
Ben Folds and the rest of musicians and music fans worldwide worried about the fate of famed RCA Studio A may be able to breathe a sigh of relief, as Brentwood developer Tim Reynolds — whose company, Bravo Development, is reportedly on deck to buy the Music Row building housing the historic studio — says it is, and always was, his intention to preserve Studio A.
Folds, who’s rented, renovated and operated the studio for the last 12 years, penned a passionate open letter to Reynolds — who’s known for developing condominium complexes — and the city of Nashville stressing the importance of keeping the studio out of a wrecking ball’s path.
“We’re glad to [say] that if Bravo Development consummates its sale, it is our full intention to preserve and incorporate the studio into our design,” Reynolds tells the Scene. “We are now in the early stages of the engineer work and architectural work, but if that can be achieved, we will incorporate that studio and preserve it.”
Even so, you're going to have stiff competition as the YASNI contest enters its 25th year. You've got less than 36 hours to submit the magic entry that slays your neighbors, tickles our readers and leaves your competitors shaking their fists. All you have to do is complete the phrase, "You are so Nashville if ..."
What've we got to talk about this year? Let's see … The Amp, charter schools, craft brews, Vanderbilt baseball, the World Cup, the drained lake at Centennial Park, the Green Hills skyscraper, the Sylvan Park roundabout, the Melrose marquee, the Ryman facelift, RCA Studio A, the First Saturday Art Crawl, wine in grocery stores, Will Pinkston, Record Store Day, Pilot Flying J, Two Ten Jack, James Franklin leaving, OZ Nashville, Al-Jazeera Nashville, Private Lives of Nashville Wives, Stacey Campfield, barbecue on Belmont, Scarlett on drugs, PolicyMic on East Nashville, competing farmers markets, Diarrhea Planet, Crazy Hearts, drones, Third Man Records, Barista, Thicker Than Water, Two Old Hippies, decriminalizing marijuana, The Contributor, that other street paper that's not The Contributor. Oh, and having improper relations with an ATM and a picnic table.
Do not post your entries below in the comments box. We will route them straight to YASNI Siberia, the special purgatory reserved for entries about the intricacies of Old Hickory Boulevard or pronouncing "Demonbreun." Instead, fill out the online form — again, by the end of tomorrow night — and start rehearsing an acceptance speech for the July 17 issue that sounds humble. May the best YASNI win!
While social media is currently abuzz with locals lamenting the potential sale of Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A to maybe make way for a condominium complex (there’s even a hashtag going on Twitter: #SaveStudioA), another Nashville musical landmark is about to get a multi-million-dollar facelift.
At a press conference this morning, Ryman Hospitality Properties CEO and president Colin Reed announced a $14 million renovation and expansion of the Mother Church’s non-historic (and rather dated) Fourth Avenue lobby, which was added on to the building in 1994 and, frankly, looks and feels like it.
Power-pop piano man and local resident Ben Folds has operated Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A — the 5,000-square-foot live room founded by Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, where the likes of Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Jimmy Dean and Eddy Arnold cut many of their classics — for the past 12 of its nearly 50 years of operation.
But now the famed studio’s future is uncertain, as the old RCA Building housing the studio on Music Row is likely to be sold, reportedly to a Brentwood developing company. This is according to a rather lengthy, impassioned open letter Folds — who says he’s spent more than $1 million as the space’s tenant and caretaker — penned (and sent to the Scene via his publicist) to the city of Nashville and the building’s potential new owners.
Read Folds’ letter in full after the jump.
In the lyrics to his hit “Drink a Beer,” country singer Luke Bryan encourages fans to drink a beer. But at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field over the weekend, Luke Bryan fans drank many beers, leaving the cans and bottles behind by the mound and, in some cases, drunkenly stumbling headfirst into the parking lot pavement, perhaps proving that Western Pennsylvania country music concert-goers are to stadiums as Florida voters are to elections.
For the second summer in a row, classy country fans in the City of Champions trashed the fuck out of the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, where, last year, a Kenny Chesney concert resulted in 73 arrests and a left-behind heap of garbage worthy of Three Mile Island. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, police reported 154 911 calls from parking lots surrounding the stadium; 100 calls for medical services, resulting in 34 hospital transports, 37 non-traffic citations and a number of arrests for assault, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and other infractions. There were also at least 15 fights.
Hard-living Nashville-bred neo-outlaw-countryman Justin Townes Earle will release his fifth LP, Single Mothers, on Sept. 9. The record comes after the singer’s contract with longtime label Bloodshot Records ended amicably, and a new relationship with Communion Records, Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett’s label, quickly went south.
“The only thing I hate about business is that it’s frowned upon to pistol whip the competition,” Earle tweeted in December. “Tweets are gonna be angry for awhile. Just found out I won’t be making a record for a while due to a bunch of pussies in an office. Never working with another record label.”
But Earle did work another label, apparently, as Single Mothers is coming out on Vagrant. Check out Earle singing the Mothers tune “White Gardenias” — a nice lonely country blues number — live at famed McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, Calif., above, and peep the album’s track list after the jump.
The Sutler, the Melrose neighborhood saloon that was a hub of the Americana scene in its early years, is scheduled to reopen this summer at its former location in the Melrose building at 2600 Franklin Pike. It's a joint project of Austin Ray, whose M.L. Rose Craft Beer and Burgers is doing gangbusters business across the street, and Joe Parkes and family of The Parkes Companies.
The release lays out the vision for the reopened club:
The Sutler is a reimagined concept of the original venue with the same name. The two-level space with more than 8,000 square feet will include a main level reminiscent of the original Sutler, but expanded to feature a craft beer and cocktail menu, Nashville-style cuisine, and live music regularly. The basement level will house a speakeasy inspired cocktail lounge. ...
Native Nashvillians [Ray and Parkes] were former patrons of the original Sutler and plan to bring it back to life as part of a massive arts, dining, and urban living revival of the Melrose neighborhood and the 8th Avenue corridor.
“There’s always been an entertainment component to this neighborhood,” said Ray. “People who have been in Nashville long enough love this area for the decades of history, and people newer to the city are discovering it. We’re about to really bring that entertainment vibe back with the entire Melrose complex, which includes The Sutler. People ask, will The Sutler focus on food, drinks, or music? My answer is ‘yes.’”
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